The liver break down the bilirubin and it is then excreted through the intestines. Sometimes due to weakening of the liver or the production of bilirubin faster than it can be broken down, the levels of bilirubin in the blood increases. This results in the yellowing of the skin and the white of the eyes. This is the condition that is referred to as jaundice or icterus. Jaundice is also quite common among newborns and in premature babies. This is because the liver in infants attains their full maturity after one to two weeks. So, till that time the liver cannot break down the bilirubin effectively which results in jaundice. After the liver attains its full strength, the jaundice usually disappears. However, sometimes the jaundice can be quite severe, which may require medical intervention. To take care of a jaundiced baby, you must be able to identify the symptoms at the earliest, so that you can address it properly. To help you in this, read the article below on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of jaundice in newborns.
Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Jaundice In Newborns
- Some babies suffer from a mild jaundice due to the immaturity of the liver, which makes the processing of bilirubin slow. As the baby attains maturity and the liver strengthens, the jaundice also disappears.
- Not getting enough breast milk can also be a cause of jaundice in the infants.
- Sometimes breast fed babies also get jaundice because of the substance that is produced in the mother’s milk. These can raise the level of bilirubin in the baby and also prevent its excretion.
- If the blood type of the mother and the baby is different, then the mother’s body can produce antibodies that destroy the infant’s red blood cells. As a result, the bilirubin builds up in the infant’s blood, causing jaundice.
- With the rise in the levels of bilirubin, the jaundice spreads over the arms, thighs, and legs. Sometimes knees and palms may also appear jaundiced.
- Another very good way to identify if the infant is having jaundice is to press a finger against the baby’s skin so that it pushes out the blood temporarily. If the baby is jaundiced the skin will stay yellow which otherwise will turn white.
- The eyes and also the urine of the baby turn yellow.
- Sometimes the yellowing of the skin will also be accompanied by fever and ill health.
- If the jaundice is mild, then the baby can regulate the excess bilirubin in his/her body. In one to two weeks, after the liver of the baby is mature enough, the jaundice generally disappear.
- If the jaundice is serious then the baby must undergo phototherapy. In this treatment, a special light is used to rid the body of bilirubin.
- Frequent feeding of breast milk is another good treatment option. Also, feed the infant milk supplements that are specially formulated to help them pass the bilirubin in their stools.
- In severe case of jaundice blood exchange can be required to give the baby fresh blood and remove the bilirubin.
- If the jaundice had developed due to breast milk, then feeding the baby mother’s milk must be stopped.